Answer Me This

English: Country road. The private road leadin...

Imagining myself walking on this path gives me bliss. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. What is your favourite “bliss” word?

2. What is your favourite “bliss” food?

3. What is your favourite “bliss” activity?

4. What is your favourite piece of “bliss” clothing?

5. Who is your favourite “bliss” author or poet or writer?

6. What is your favourite “bliss” movie?

7. Who is your favourite “bliss” person?

Answer 1 or 2 or 3 or all the questions and you will give me bliss.

 

Published in: on May 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm  Comments (49)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Echoes of Bliss

English: Frontispiece of the 1922 edition of R...

1922 edition of Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg. Illustration by Maud and Miska Petersham. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A poem is an echo,
asking a shadow to dance.”
Carl Sandburg

A lovely way to define poetry, but what does it mean? Pretty words undefined by our  experiences are just pretty words.

For a long time I did not appreciate poetry—possibly due to a Canadian literature course I took at university that seemed to hone in on Canadian poetry that defined our great nation as a cold, forbidding, and sterile place—which was the exact opposite of my experience. Mind you, I live in an area (southwestern Ontario) where we brag about being the “southernmost” part of Canada, so we possibly experience much more moderate weather conditions than many of our northerly brothers and sisters.

I have found that there is certain poetry that “speaks” to me, and it is generally poetry that talks of everyday things in a way that makes me look differently at the world. Each of us sees the world with a unique vision, and these visions can expand our experience.

I now collect poetry, but the poetry I collect speaks of everyday things. It is not dark and dank and angst ridden. There is a poetry contest in Canada that asks us to write poems and enter them to win a good amount of money and publication. I have read some of the poetry that has won this contest in past years and it is generally not “happy” poetry about daffodils, or hanging out the wash, or planting tomatoes. It generally has a depth I cannot plumb. I guess I like poetry that is expressed simply with beautiful language.

In an attempt to write something I think would be considered for the contest—I went to my dark place and came up with the following:

Not Safe

The shadows are cast

Shutters open to reveal a life broken

Exposed.

Just outside the door a welcome mat beckons

But it lies

No one is welcome here

Pain, hurt, and agony

Make their home here.

A red couch long abandoned

Its pillows ripped and frayed and soiled

Pillows strewn on the floor

Pretty fringed cast offs

Carpet muddied and matted……………..

Then I stopped writing the poem. It is not me. As angst ridden as the next person, I could not sustain this attitude long enough to write 500 – 600 words. I kind of depressed myself. It is apparent to me that my dark side is not dark enough, or sustainable.

Daffodil & Summer-snowflake

Daffodil & Summer-snowflake (Photo credit: ericdege)

Granted, I may live in a world of denial at times, but I like pretty words and pretty worlds, and what I so painfully came up with in my lame attempt to be considered for a prize is not authentically me. So I will write about trees with lacy limbs, snowflakes melting on tongues, and baby chuckles—and leave the dark side to those who can do it justice.

If as Sandburg says: “A poem is an echo, asking a shadow to dance” then mine is a dance of hope whose shadows are shallow.

Bliss is realizing what is authentic, and what is not. What do you think?

~ Be Still ~

“Poetry is pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe, and bringing them down to earth.”  ~ Marisa De Franceschi

"The Listening Place", South Lochboi...

“The Listening Place”: Be Still (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chairs were fairly comfortable. The room was not crowded, but neither was it bare. It was filled with people who love the written word. I must admit that my appreciation for poetry has been acquired—like the taste of beer or olives or octopus. And now that I have acquired it, I like to feed it.

Recently an opportunity to feed the poetry beast was offered at my local library. Three local poets were featured. They provided the audience with three very different flavours of the genre. To say that one poet was better than another would be a misnomer, but of the three, one appealed to my sense of the familiar more than the other two. One poet drew on the raw realities of life beautifully—but her poetry was to my mind uncomfortable.  Another was a true poet, in that if poetry is not his first calling, it most definitely is his primary form of expression. His was an educated palate and his poetry brilliantly executed. I was jealous of his implementation of the English language.

I tend to understand and like the simple written word—if its imagery is too opaque or its metaphors too tangled, I lose patience.

The poet who “spoke to me” at the poetry reading was Marisa De Franceschi.  She believes in “pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe and bringing them down to earth”. When a poet does not do that, does not bring their poetry down to earth, I am lost in their wordiness.

Her book of poetry, Random Thoughts, is rift with images brought down to earth. One of her poems, called “Be Still” spoke to my depths. She said that it was derived from her personal observations of the ships on Lake Erie that she could see from the windows of  her summer cottage in Wheatley, Ontario. Here are a few of my favourite lines:

“Out on the Lake,

When the gale turns ferocious

There is only one thing for the mammoth ships to do.

Stop and stay put.

Be still….

They sit still and wait…

They wait for the winds to calm,

Wait for them to have their say.

The ships will continue their journey

When the tempest dies down….”

I think this poem provides us with great wisdom. As we venture out into the fray of everyday life–sometimes we just have to sit still and wait and let the tempest die down in order to head out again. This is good advice for the holiday season as we rush around–we need to be still sometimes to appreciate all that it has to offer.

What steps are you going to take this holiday season to “be still”?

Tranquility

Tranquility (Photo credit: EclecticBlogs)

An Acquired Taste

Lake Erie, looking southward from a high rural...

Lake Erie, looking southward from a high rural bluff, near Leamington, Ontario (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is poetry?

Poetry is pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe, and bringing them down to earth. ~Marisa De Franceschi

The chairs were fairly comfortable. The room was not crowded, but neither was it bare. It was filled with people who love the written word, and attended to hear it read aloud. A treat. I must admit that my appreciation for poetry has been acquired—like the taste of beer or olives or octopus. And now that I have acquired it, I like to feed it.

Recently an opportunity to feed the poetry beast was offered at my local library. Three poets from Windsor, Ontario were featured, and provided the audience with three very different flavours of the genre. To say that one poet was better than another would be a misnomer, but of the three, one appealed to my sense of the familiar more than the other two. A second poet drew on the raw realities of life beautifully—but her poetry was to my mind uncomfortable.  The third was a true poet, in that if poetry was not his first calling, it is most definitely his primary form of expression. His was an educated palate and his poetry brilliantly executed. I was jealous of his implementation of the English language.

I tend to understand and like the simple written word—if its imagery is too opaque or its metaphors too tangled, I lose patience, and am reminded of all those times at university when I was expected to explicate a poem rather than enjoy it. I love Marisa De Franceschi’s definition of poetry quoted above—“pulling images out of the sky, the air, the universe and bringing them down to earth”. When a poet does not do that, does not bring their poetry down to earth, I am lost in their wordiness.

De Franceschi’s book of poetry, “Random Thoughts”, is rift with images brought down to earth. One of her poems, called “Be Still” spoke to my depths. She said that it was derived from her personal observations of the ships on Lake Erie that she could see from the windows of  her summer cottage:

“Out on the Lake,

When the gale turns ferocious

There is only one thing for the mammoth ships to do.

Stop and stay put.

Be still.

They do not attempt to force themselves along the seaway,

They sit still and wait.

They do not go up against it, try to fight it.

They wait for the winds to calm,

Wait for them to have their say.

The ships will continue their journey

When the tempest dies down

And gives permission

To head out again

To deliver the goods.”

I think this poem is especially useful as we venture out into the fray of everyday life–sometimes we just have to sit still and wait and let the tempest die down in order to head out again.

.

Published in: on April 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , ,